Shotokan Karate-Do International
Japan Karate Association Connecticut
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Training at UConn
Beginner and advanced classes for men, women and children are held at Hawley Armory Gymnasium (near the library at the center of the UConn campus in Storrs/Mansfield, Connecticut). Visitors are welcome to come train with us or observe classes. Contact us for current training days and times.
KARATE-DO (The "empty hands way")
The "kara" of karate means "to render oneself empty". Master Gichin Funakoshi, the "Father of Japanese Karate", wrote, "The student of karate-do must render his mind empty of selfishness and wickedness in an effort to react appropriately toward anything he may encounter". Karate's roots go back to the Shao Lin and other ancient fighting arts of China, where physical training methods were used to build the endurance and strength required to carry out the rigid discipline of the religion. These arts eventually spread to Okinawa and then to Japan where karate was refined into its present-day form. In 1955, the Japan Karate Association (JKA) was established with Master Funakoshi as chief instructor. The JKA trained and sent instructors throughout the world, which is one the the primary reasons karate is as well known and popular as it is today.
Master Gichin Funakoshi
As a form of physical exercise, karate is almost without equal. Utilizing all parts of the body, karate training increases the strength, speed, stamina, coordination, reflexes, and balance of the karateka (student of karate). It is the ultimate art of unarmed self-defense. Like knowing how to swim, you always have it with you. However, Master Funakoshi saw karate not only as a means of conditioning or self-defense, but also as a way to build character and mental discipline. The karateka is taught not only the physical techniques, but also how to use his skills with wisdom and discretion. Among the many mental benefits of karate training are improved self-awareness, confidence, discipline and emotional control.
The Japan Karate Association
and the UConn JKA Karate Club
With millions of members in over 100 countries, the Japan Karate Association (JKA) is the largest martial arts organization in the world. The JKA teaches karate in the traditional Japanese way, emphasizing strong stances and powerful basic technique as well as mastery of kata (form) and kumite (sparring). In the United States, the JKA has a main school in each region which trains instructors and ensures the maintenance of high standards in all of the JKA branch schools. Shotokan Karate-Do International, which is based in New York City, is headquarters for all JKA clubs in the region. It is under the leadership of Master Masataka Mori, who is 9th dan (9th degree black belt) and one of the highest ranking karate masters in the world. The UConn JKA Karate Club was founded in September, 1972 and is dedicated to the continuation of traditional karate-do as a physical and mental discipline designed to improve the overall quality of the student's life.
Master Masataka Mori
THE DOJO KUN ("School Code")
The Dojo Kun (in brown type below) is recited at each practice (the black type is a more literal translation of the original Japanese). It serves to remind students that karate-do is not just about training the body, but also about perfecting character and attitude. It also reminds students that the physical and mental strength learned through karate must be accompanied by a moral code of respect and restraint.
SEEK PERFECTION OF CHARACTER
Strive for completion of character
Defend the path of truth
Foster the spirit of effort
Respect the principles of etiquette
REFRAIN FROM VIOLENT BEHAVIOR
Guard against impetuous courage
See also Sensei Funakoshi's Twenty Precepts (the Niju Kun)
And more on Funakoshi's ideas on how to practice karate from the JKA Boston webpage . . .
UConn JKA Instructors:
Our chief instructor, Sensei Robert Jacobs (6th dan), is the senior ranking JKA instructor in New England. Jacobs began his karate training at UConn in 1973 and became its instructor in 1976. In 1991, he completed the intensive advanced JKA instructor training and certification course taught by Master Mori in New York City. Jacobs is twice (1979 & 83) Shotokan Karate-Do America mens kumite (sparring) champion. In national championships (AAKF) he has competed on many teams with 1st place wins in kumite (1985) and kata (1990 & 1991). He also competed in two world championships (JKA Shoto Cup, Tokyo 1992 and ITKF World Championships, Montreal 1993). He now judges in national and world competitions (including World Shoto Cup Championships in Philadelphia 1994, Osaka 1996, Paris 1998, Sydney 2006 & Pattaya 2011).
Jacobs continues to teach karate-do in the strict, traditional fashion - emphasizing that the development of spirit and character are as important as that of technique. In his almost 40 years of teaching at UConn, over 160 of his students have attained the rank of shodan (1st degree black belt) or above.
Our Assistant Chief Instructors are Tom Hine and Mike Jacobs (both 4th dan). Both are certified "A" Class JKA instructors and are veterans of many national and international competitions, including JKA World Shoto Cup Championships. Tom's tournament record includes 1st place wins nationally in team kata (1990 & 91) and 2nd in team kumite (1988). Since 2003, Mike has placed first in kumite 6 times and in kata once among Shotokan Karate-Do International Championships, and has won the "Outstanding Competitor" award for best combined kumite and kata performance 5 times.
Our other full time instructors at UConn are Ryan Jacobs and Melissa Jacobs (both 3rd dan). Both have been training for close to 20 years and are currently enrolled in Sensei Mori's "B" Level Instructor Training Course (scheduled to graduate in 2016).
In addition to our full time instructors, the UConn Karate Club has produced many alumni who have acheived JKA Instructor status (see Membership Roster for full list), many of whom now teach at other JKA schools. Among those that visit UConn regularly and occasionally instruct here are Andrew Bakoledis (4th dan, Chief Instructor JKA Montville), Maura Graham-Vecellio (3rd dan, Chief Instructor JKA Wallingford), Mark Rollins, (3rd dan, Asst. Instructor Karate Spirit), Abby Barrera (3rd dan, Asst. Instructor JKA Montville) and Rob Terlikowski (3rd dan, Chief Instructor Unity Karate). All are veterans of regional and international competition and bring a rich diversity of teaching experience to UConn.
Instructors Andrew Bakoledis, Mike Jacobs and Alumni Joe Vincente were on the U.S. Kata Team that made the finals (top 8) at the 2011 JKA World Shoto Cup Championships (Pattaya, Thailand). See YouTube videos of the team here: Semi-finals - Kanku sho and Finals - Meikyo).
Schedule of UConn and Regional Events
July 1 Sept 9 Kyu Examination for Rank @ UConn Sept 19-20 Sept 25 Special Self-Defense Training & New Member Party @ UConn Oct 10 Oct 16 Video Session & Party @ UConn Oct 25 Instructor Training @ New York Nov 6-7 Fall Mini-Camp & Husky Cup Compeition @ UConn Nov 22 Instructor Training @ New York Nov 23-29 Thanksgiving Recess - Training as Usual @ UConn Dec 4 Special Self Defense Training & End of Semester Party @ UConn Dec 8 Kyu Examination for Rank @ Trinity College Dec 9 Kyu Examination for Rank @ UConn Dec 13 Instructor Training & Dan Examination for Rank @ New York Dec-Jan Semester Break - Training as usual @ UConn
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